Biosensing based on surface plasmon resonance and living cells

Biosens Bioelectron. 2009 Feb 15;24(6):1667-73. doi: 10.1016/j.bios.2008.08.025. Epub 2008 Aug 26.


We propose the combination of surface plasmon resonance (SPR) with living cells as a biosensing method. Our detection scheme is based on the premise that cellular activity induced by external agents is often associated with changes in cellular morphology, which in turn should lead to a variation of the effective refractive index at the interface between the cell membrane and the metal layer. We monitored surface plasmon resonance signals originating from a gold surface coated with cells on a custom apparatus after injection of various agents known to influence cellular activity and morphology. Specifically, we evaluated three types of stimulation: response to an endotoxin (lipopolysaccharides), a chemical toxin (sodium azide) and a physiological agonist (thrombin). A comparison with phase contrast microscopy reveals that SPR signal variations are associated with the induction of cell death for lipopolysaccharides treatment and a contraction of the cell body for sodium azide. Thrombin-induced cellular response shows a rapid decrease of the measured laser reflectance over 5min followed by a return to the original value. For this treatment, phase contrast micrographs relate the first phase of the SPR variation to cell contraction and increase of the intercellular gaps, whereas the recovery phase can be associated with a spreading of the cell on the sensing surface. Hence, the SPR signal is very consistent with the cellular response normally observed for these treatments. This confirms the validity of the biosensing method, which could be applied to a large variety of cellular responses involving shape remodeling induced by external agents.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biological Assay / instrumentation*
  • Biosensing Techniques / instrumentation*
  • Biosensing Techniques / methods
  • Cell Line
  • Computer-Aided Design
  • Equipment Design
  • Equipment Failure Analysis
  • Humans
  • Kidney / cytology*
  • Kidney / physiology*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Surface Plasmon Resonance / instrumentation
  • Surface Plasmon Resonance / methods